Travel

A Guide to the Best Fjords to Visit in Norway

Norwegian fjords (prounounced f’yourd) are narrow inlets of the ocean between cliffs. They’re formed when glaciers retreat, allowing the sea to fill in the remaining space. There are over 1,100 fjords of Norway, and they are famous all over the world for their epic natural beauty. Seeing and exploring them is a bucket list item for many, and it’s no wonder why; they truly are magical.

Where and how can you find the fjords of Norway? Lucky for us, many of them are accessible by car or boat. Our list of the best fjords, where to stay, and what to do when you get there, will help you in your journey to experience the Norwegian sea and landscape.

These are the best fjords to visit in Norway, on your next trip through Scandinavia:

Geirangerfjord

Aurlandsfjord

Hardangerfjord

Oslofjord

Sognefjord

Trollfjord

Nærøyfjord

Nordfjord

Lysefjord

Lyngenfjord

 
 

Geirangerfjord

The fjord to end all fjords: the Geirangerfjord is Norway’s best-known and most visited fjord. Perhaps you (and your kids) remember it from the movie “Frozen?” Yes, that fjord. Geirangerfjord is 15 km long and ends with the village of Geiranger.

That village may not be around much longer, as part of Åknesfjället mountain is projected to fall into the fjord soon, creating massive waves that could decimate Geiranger. The residents, thank goodness, will be evacuated by that time, as a close eye is being kept on the mountain’s status. In addition, there are contentious plans to put power lines across the fjord. So go see it in all its beauty while you can!

Geirangerfjord, Norway / © Adobe Stock

About three hours from Ålesund, in Møre og Romsdal country, Geirangerfjord is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Apart from seeing the fjord itself, there are a number of abandoned farms that sit against the fjord. Some of them have been gently restored and can be explored, including Blomberg, Skageflå, and Knivsflå.

If fjords and farms aren’t your thing (or even if they are), Geirangerfjord area offers some incredible waterfalls, including the beloved Seven Sisters Falls (De Syv Søstrene) with the Suitor waterfall just across the fjord. Legend has it that the seven sisters run and dance down the mountain, while across the water, the suitor flirts with them. Seven Sisters Falls consists of seven separate streams, with the highest falls from 250 metres.

Left: Seven Sisters Falls; Right: Skageflå Restored abandoned farm / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

Geirangerfjord is accessible by road or cruise ship.

 

Where to stay

Solhaug Camping

Small, charming camping huts right on the water offer protected camping for those looking to hike, kayak, or just enjoy the incredible views. This spot sells out quickly, so you’ll need to book quite far in advance. Starts at 550 NOK/night.

Hotel Geiranger

A perfectly good hotel with panoramic views of the fjord. The service is friendly, the rooms and clean and comfortable, and you’ll be close to lots of tours and adventure opportunities. Breakfast is included. Rooms start at 1150 NOK/night

 

How to explore

Private day tour from Oslo to Geirangerfjord

This tour offers a scenic drive from Oslo to Geiranger, as well as a personal tour guide to take you around Geirangerfjord and the surrounding area. You’ll have a viking-style lunch while you take in the incredible view. This tour runs 9 – 12 hours.

Sea Kayaking in the Great Fjords

Now this is an adventure! Six days of kayaking, starting at Ålesund through the Storfjord & Geirangerfjord towards Geiranger village. All camping and kayaking gear is provided; you just need to bring a sleeping bag. The concept of the trip is collaborative so you won’t be doing this alone.

Spectacular E-Biking Trip to the Mountainpass Over Flo

Fly up the mountains while taking in unbelievable vistas on your e-bike. This trip follows a mountain road from Hellesylt close to the Geirangerfjord to Oppstryn in Stryn, with a round trip time of approximately five hours and 20 kilometres.

 

 
 

Hardangerfjord

The fjord that started it all! Hardangerfjord is Norway’s most famous fjord. In 1875, Thomas Cook began running tours from London to the Hardangerfjord, cementing Norway’s new tourism boom and the mythology of the country’s incredible fjords.

Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second longest fjord at 179 kilometres long, starts from the Atlantic Ocean and flows along the Hardangervidda plateau. The region is home to the rock formation known as Trolltunga (troll’s tongue), a major hiker’s destination. The fjord ends at Odda, a charming town to use as a base for your fjord-related adventures, whether you feel like hiking, kayaking, or anything else.

Left: Trolltunga (Troll’s Tongue) overlooking Hardangerfjord; Right: Hardangerfjord / © Adobe Stock

Along the fjord you’ll find Folgefonna, Norway’s third largest glacier, as well as numerous waterfalls. The coastline of the fjord is known as “the fruit orchard of Norway” thanks to its extremely fertile ground; there’s a huge amount of fruit that grows there.

It is also one of the major farm fishing regions of the world, focused particularly on salmon and trout. If you’ve ever had a sip of Isklar water, you’ve tasted Hardangerfjord; that’s ice-melt water taken directly from the fjord, bottled, and sold around the world.

Left: Hardangerfjord; Right: View from the top of Mabodalen of the famous Voringsfossen waterfall near Eidfjord off Hardangerfjord / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

There is an express bus from Oslo, Bergen, and Haugesund. It is also possible to get to Hardangerfjord by car; the drive is approximately three hours from Bergen and four hours from Stavanger.

 

Where to stay

Odda Camping

With easy access to Trolltunga hiking, these clean, basic cabins are pretty much all you need if you’re looking for an outdoor type of trip. The amenities may not be fancy, but the views sure are. Starting at 660 NOK/night.

Strand Fjordhotel

Located right on the water, this hotel offers some great services, including free bike rental and kayaks. It’s not a fancy hotel, but it’s comfortable and clean, has lots of amenities, and the ocean view is wonderful. Another bonus: breakfast is included! Rooms start at 1,164 NOK/night

 

How to explore

Eidfjord One Hour RIB Fjord Tour

This quick but informative and beautiful tour of the Eidfjord habor includes sightseeing, animal watching, and a knowledgeable guide to take you through the history of the area. This one sells out fast, so we book well in advance.

Three Hour Kayak Tour

Learn to kayak through the Eidfjord with a skilled kayak teacher and guide, as well as learning about the surrounding area. This is a three hour tour and is suitable for those who are beginner kayakers. You’ll see spectacular vistas, fascinating wildlife, and maybe even a whale!

 

 
 

Sognefjord

Sognefjord is the largest fjord in Norway – both the longest and deepest. It is 205 kilometres long, 6 kilometres wide, and up to 1,308 metres deep. It’s nickname, “The King of the Fjords,” is perhaps a little grand, but it gets the point across. The fjord also branches off into a number of other, smaller fjords, including: Sognesjøen, Arnafjord, Esefjord, Nærøyfjord, and Lustrafjord.

Lustrafjord, the innermost arm of the region, ends with the village of Skjolden, an entry point to Jotunheimen National Park. So while the Sognefjord is a beautiful fjord to see in and of itself, the whole Sogn and Fjordane county features incredible landscapes and vistas.

Left: Sognefjord; Right: Viking ship on Sognefjord / © Adobe Stock

In addition to its natural beauty, visitors can explore three of Norway’s beloved stave churches: Kaupanger, Borgundthe, and Urnes. These churches are made from wood and were built in medieval times; most of those that have survived are in Norway, with 32 of them still standing in the country.

Think it’s all charm? Sognefjord also features the second longest span of power lines in the world, called the Sognefjord Span. A bit of something for everyone!

Left: Norwegian Stabkirche stave church on Sognefjord; Right: Hiking in Jotunheimen National Park / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

Sognefjord is accessible by car; it will take approximately four hours to get there from Bergen.

 

Where to stay

Bøyum Camping

Simple sheltered camping with wonderful views! There are private cabins with kitchenettes as well as shared rooms and even place to pitch your own tent. Starts from 230 NOK/night

Lustrafjorden B&B

A charming B&B that includes breakfast and lots of antique furniture. It’s a big old school – there are shared bathrooms and lovely common spaces to relax – but also cosy and clean. It is right on Lustrafjord and Børestein Mountain is only 8 kilometres away; ideal for a day hike.

 

How to explore

Private Tour from Bergen

This full day (11 hours) private tour is an incredible way to see the areas of Sognefjord, Gudvangen, and Flåm. You’ll learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as wildlife and the landscape. Perhaps the best part of this trip is how many different forms of transport you’ll take: rail, boat, and road all included.

 

 
 

Nærøyfjord

This arm of the Sognefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The fjord is quite small, only 18 kilometres long and as narrow as 500 metres at some points. Despite its size, the fjord is an ideal spot to visit to see the classic fjord vista. The high mountains on either side – up to 1,700 meters high – make for an incredibly beautiful scene.

Naeroyfjord Fjord / © Adobe Stock

Nærøydalselvi river flows into the fjord at the village of Gudvangen. The tiny village of Bakka can also be found on the west bank of the fjord, notable for the beautiful wooden Bakka Church designed by famous Norwegian architect Christian Henrik Grosch.

 

How to get there

Nærøyfjord is a branch of Sognefjord, and is accessible via the same transport. It is easiest to reach it by car, and is about four hours from Bergen.

 

Where to stay

Sogndal Vandrerhjem

Not high luxury, but ideal if you just need somewhere to sleep, shower, and make a cup of coffee in the morning. This clean, bright hostel is right on the water and the value for price is great (breakfast is even included). Starts at 600 NOK/night.

Leikanger Fjord Hotel

A beautiful hotel right against the water, Leikanger is full of old fashioned but well-kept furniture and modern amenities. Enjoy their terrace views, docks, and cosy rooms, many with fjord-views. Starts at 1,300 NOK/night

 

How to explore

Private Tour from Bergen

This is the same tour recommended for Sognefjord, the larger fjord connected to Nærøyfjord.

This full day (11 hours) private tour is an incredible way to see the areas of Sognefjord, Gudvangen, and Flåm. You’ll learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as wildlife and the landscape. Perhaps the best part of this trip is how many different forms of transport you’ll take: rail, boat, and road all included.

 

 
 

Lysefjord

Called Lysefjord, meaning “light fjord,” due to the light-colored granite rock surrounding it, this spot is a popular one thanks to Preikestolen (“pulpit rock”). The high cliff overlooks the fjord and is a major hiker’s destination. At 604 metres tall, you’ll want to bring a good pair of hiking shoes and some binoculars to get the best view possible.

Left: Preikestolen (“pulpit rock”) on Lysefjord; Right: Preikestolen (“pulpit rock”) on Lysefjord / © Adobe Stock

Because the fjord’s sides are both rocky (so rocky and steep, in fact, that there are no roads directly across), there’s very little populating the coasts; the two small villages of Forsand and Lysebotn are the only two along the fjord. Lysebotn, a lovely village that has plenty of hotels, is made up nearly entirely of those working at the nearby hydroelectric plants, which provide electricity for approximately 100,000 people.

In addition to the villages and the cliff, there are gorgeous hiking trails and the chance to see Kjeragbolten, a large boulder suspended between two rock sides. If you feel like walking 4,444 steps, why not try the world’s longest wooden staircase, called Flørli 4444. For a small fjord, Lysefjord has an abundance of things to see and do.

Left: Kjeragbolten on Hardangerfjord; Right: Flørli 4444 World’s Longest Wooden Staircase / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

Lysefjord is approximately an hour from Stavanger by boat. To get to Lysebotn, you can drive your car along the extremely hair-raising and winding Lysebotnvegen in summer, or the ferry in winter.

 

Where to stay

Stavanger Lille Hotel & Cafe

Well isn’t this cute! A hotel and cafe; both unpretentious, clean, and pleasant. Your room comes with a yummy buffet breakfast, enjoyed in the cafe. The location is a short walk to the main pedestrian street and only five minutes from the train station. Starts at 490 NOK/night.

Radisson Blu Atlantic Hotel Stavanger

Modern Scandinavian design, all the amenities, beautiful views over Stavanger, and a plentiful buffet breakfast make this hotel a great choice. The location is ideal, with Stavanger old town only 250 metres away. Starts at 930 NOK/night.
 

 

How to explore

Guided Hike to Kjerag

This day-long tour includes a scenic drive from Stavanger to Eagle’s Nest (the head of the hiking trail), and an approximately three hour hike to Kjerag boulder. There you can climb on the boulder itself, take in the views of Lysefjord, and enjoy the landscape before hiking back. The total time from start to finish is 13 hours.

Two Hour Fjord Cruise and Preikeskolen Hike

Over nine hours, you’ll enjoy a relaxing two hour cruise around Lysefjord followed by an approximately five hour (round trip, not including time spent at the rock) guided hike to Preikeskolen. The tour begins in Stavanger and includes Vagabond’s Cove and the crystal-clear Hengjane Waterfall.

 

 
 

Aurlandsfjord

Aurlandsfjord is a 29 kilometre branch of the larger Sognefjorden, and is considered one of the most picturesque of the larger fjord’s off-shoots. About halfway down the fjord, the Nærøyfjord branches off, which means that parts of Aurlandsfjord are included in that UNESCO World Heritage site.

Aurlandsfjord / © Adobe Stock

The fjord runs along Aurland, Lærdal, and Vik municipalities, with the teeny-tiny village (population: 350) of Flåm at the innermost part. Due to rocky terrain and steep mountains, there isn’t much by way of population along the fjord’s sides, with the exception of some small valleys and charming farmland. If you’re already headed to Sognefjorden, this is an easy one to see, and the dramatic landscape of tall sides meeting the deep water is picture-perfect.

 

How to get there

As with Sognefjord and Nærøyfjord, Aurlandsfjord is accessible by car. It takes around four hours to get there from Bergen. You can also visit the village Flåm that’s located by the Aurlandsfjord on the highly esteemed Flåm Railway. Once you reach the larger fjord, a boat or ferry cruise is the best way to see the area.

 

Where to stay

Sogndal Vandrerhjem

Not high luxury, but ideal if you just need somewhere to sleep, shower, and make a cup of coffee in the morning. This clean, bright hostel is right on the water and the value for price is great (breakfast is even included). Starts at 600 NOK/night.

Leikanger Fjord Hotel

A beautiful hotel right against the water, Leikanger is full of old fashioned but well-kept furniture and modern amenities. Enjoy their terrace views, docks, and cosy rooms, many with fjord-views. Starts at 1,300 NOK/night

 

How to explore

Private Tour from Bergen

This is the same tour recommended for Sognefjord, the larger fjord connected to Nærøyfjord.

This full day (11 hours) private tour is an incredible way to see the areas of Sognefjord, Gudvangen, and Flåm. You’ll learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as wildlife and the landscape. Perhaps the best part of this trip is how many different forms of transport you’ll take: rail, boat, and road all included.

NB: our hotel and tour recommendations for Aurlandsfjord are the same as those for Nærøyfjord; they’re approximately 12 kilometres apart and the tour listed below includes both.

 

 
 

Oslofjord

If you’re visiting Oslo and won’t have a chance to travel outside of the city, luckily you can still see a Norwegian fjord in addition to all the great Oslo sights! Running from Torbjørnskjær and Færder lighthouses, down to Langesund in the south to Oslo in the north, Oslofjord isn’t exactly a traditional fjord, but it still offers a beautiful landscape and the chance to experience all the fun activities that a fjord can offer.

Left: The old Kavringen lighthouse on Oslofjord; Right: Boats on Oslofjord / © Freya McOmish & Adobe Stock

The big draws of the area are the beaches and islands. Islands to visit include Hovedøya for its fascinating monastery ruins, and Nakholmen, Lindøya, or Bleikøya for relaxing wooden cabins and classic vistas. If you’re looking to camp, Langøyene is a great spot. Gressholmen used to be full of rabbits, but they were removed in 2007 due to destruction of the surrounding vegetation; it’s still a beautiful island for hiking, swimming, and exploring.

Cruise ship on Oslofjord / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

You can travel by ferry; the DFDS ferry between Oslo and Copenhagen is one way to do it. There are also regular boats from Oslo’s Aker Brygge.

 

Where to stay

Anker Hostel

A bright, clean hostel near the city centre. Shared rooms start at 243 NOK/night and private rooms start at 489 NOK/night

Oslo Guldsmeden

An eco-friendly hotel that’s got a rustic-chic vibe and a great breakfast buffet, this hotel is very central and comfortable. Rooms start at 895 NOK/night.

 

How to explore

Two Hour Sightseeing Cruise

See the best of Oslofjord over a two hour scenic, relaxing cruise. You’ll be able to buy refreshments and snap pictures of the most gorgeous landscape imaginable.

Essential Walking Tour of Oslo

Want to make sure you hit all the major spots of Oslo, including the beautiful Aker Brygge where you can look out over the fjord? This three hour walking tour is for you. Starting at Oslo City Hall, you’ll learn about not only architecture and landmarks, but also the best places to eat, drink, and enjoy the city. For quite a short amount of time, this is a very extensive tour and a perfect way to see the city.

 

 
 

Trollfjord

There’s something cinematic about Trollfjord, with its high dark rock contrasted against bright white snow. Located between the Lofoten Islands and the region of Vesterålen on Austvågøya island, the fjord is only 2 kilometres long and 800 metres wide at its widest point.

Left: House on Trollfjord; Right: Trollfjord Snow Capped Mountains / © Adobe Stock

The exact location of Trollfjord has been a bit of a discussion in Norway; no one can decide if it’s officially part of Lofoten or Vesterålen; Austvågøya island is part of Lofoten, but the island is located in Hadsel Municipality, a part of Vesterålen. It’s an enigma wrapped in a riddle!

Left: Hamnoy fishing village on Lofoten Islands; Right: Reinebringen mountain view on Lofoten islands / © Adobe Stock

Though the tall mountains to either side can make the fjord feel hidden, it’s actually a very popular tourist destination. History buffs will be interested to learn that Trollfjord was the scene of the Battle of Trollfjord in 1890, when open-boat fishermen fought against the advent of steam-engine fishing boats.

 

How to get there

Trollfjord is only accessible by boat or hike.

 

Where to stay

Anker Brygge

This hotel is made up of rooms in converted old fishing huts, and it is extremely charming. Sitting right on the water, you can’t beat the views or the history. Each hut has its own terrace and kitchenette. Starts at 1.400 NOK/night

Scandic Svolvær

With a waterfront, central location and modern design, this hotel is ideal for both business and pleasure travellers. The reception can help you book cruises, hikes, or whatever else you’re into. Their restaurant bar has panoramic views of the landscape – a perfect place to sip your cocktail or tea and take it all in! Starts at 1.900 NOK/night.

 

How to explore

Trollfjord Sailing Trip with Fishing

Sail with up to 12 others on a catamaran. Leaving from Svolvær and going through the fjord, you’ll have the chance to take in the gorgeous landscape as well as try fishing. If you catch something, you’ll get to make it into a fresh fish soup to be enjoyed during the trip. This cruise is six hours round trip.

Trollfjord Cruise and Guided Kayaking

This 5.5 hour trip includes a beautiful cruise through the fjord and a kayaking adventure with a knowledgable guide. You’ll cruise to Skrova Island, where you’ll disembark and get into your kayak, before heading back to your point of departure in Svolvær. Both beginner and expert kayakers are welcome!

 

 
 

Nordfjord

Consider this the “express fjord” because you can get a lot done once you get to the region. Of course there’s the fjord itself, which is the sixth longest fjord in Norway at 106 kilometres. It stretches from Husevågøy island at the opening to Loen village at the end. The beautiful, raw terrain along the Stadlandet peninsula is considered the dividing point between the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea.

Left: Waterfall on the way to Briksdal glacier near Nordfjord; Right: Landscape near Utvik on the Nordfjord Norway / © Adobe Stock

So now you’ve seen a fjord; great! Want glaciers? Of course you do. You can check out both Jostedalsbreen and Briksdalsbreen; the former is Europe’s larest mainland glacier, while the latter is extremely idyllic.

What else does the area offer? Well, there are charming fishing communities to explore along the coast, year-round alpine skiing in Stryn, and Loen Skylift at Innvikfjord, taking you to the top of Mt. Hoven in only five minutes for a spectacular view.

Left: Briksdalsbreen glacier; Right: Jostedalsbreen glacier river / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

There are express buses from Oslo and Odda, and an express boat from Bergen. The fjord is approximately three hours from Ålesund by car.

 

Where to stay

Nesset Fjordcamping

Cosy cabins along the water for sheltered camping. You can kayak, hike, take in the view, and cook over fire pits while planning the rest of your trip. Starts at 590 NOK/night.

Visnes Hotel Stryn

This is more of a B&B, with it’s charming 19th century house, old fashioned interiors, and open terrace where you can sip your coffee and take in the view. Starts at 1,300 NOK/night.

 

How to explore

Olden Shore Excurison: The Amazing Briksdal Glacier

The star of this tour is the Briksdal Glacier. Round trip the tour is four hours and includes departure from Olden, Olden Lake, the “little red church,” numerous waterfalls, and of course, the glacier.

 

 
 

Lyngenfjord

This large northern fjord is 82 kilometres long and is considered the dividing line between northern and southern Troms county, and is close to the town of Tromsø. The eastern and western shores offer very different terrain and opportunities, with the stunning snow-peaked Lyngen Alps on the western side and the E06 highway along the eastern side.

Melting Steindalsbreen Glacier in The Lyngen Alps near The Tromso / © Adobe Stock

Two fjords that branch off the main Lyngenfjord are Storfjorden to the south and Kåfjorden to the east, and both are lovely, smaller fjords to explore once you’re in the region.

The high mountains of the Lyngen Alps create a shield from the rain, so Lyngenfjord is popular place to try see the Northern Lights. Of course you won’t always catch them, but this fjord is one of your best bets if aurora borealis is on your bucket list!

Mountain landscape at Lyngenfjord / © Adobe Stock

 

How to get there

It’s easy and fast to get to to Lyngenfjord from Tromsø by car or bus.

 

Where to stay

Håkon Gjestehus

A guesthouse with comfortable and clean rooms. They have a restaurant that serves both Norwegian and Thai food, and a central location that’s just minutes away from the Olderdalen Ferry terminal. Starts at 950 NOK/night.

Lyngseidet Gjestegård

Aside from clean, pleasant rooms and a view overlooking the snow-peaked mountains, this hotel also features a fun bar and restaurant. Starts at 1,000 NOK/night.

 

How to explore

Midnight Cruise

If you’ve never experienced a simultaneous sunrise and sunset, this cruise is your chance. It’s a magical event you’ll never forget. This three hour cruise is only available between May and July, when during the time of the midnight sun.

Visit to a Husky Home

Who doesn’t want to cuddle puppies? Visit one of the largest husky camps in Norway and find out more about these gorgeous dogs, including dogsledding and major races. This tour is about 3.5 hours and is a totally unique experience.

Five Hour Polar Fjord Cruise

Enjoy views of the Arctic Sea while learning about the fjords, straits, and wildlife of the region. This five hour cruise is both engaging and relaxing; it includes snacks, drinks, and expert local guides.

 

 

 
 

Norwegian Fjords FAQ

When is the best time to visit Norway fjords?

It is possible to visit the fjords year-round, so it really depends on what you’d like to do! If you’re interested in winter trips where you can see snow and ski or hike, but aren’t looking to kayak or take a boat, the months of October – April will suit you well. For weather more conducive to kayaking, cruises, or hikes, May – September is best. High season is in June and July – particularly July, when you can see the infamous “midnight sun.”

 

How many fjords are there in Norway?

There are over 1,100 fjords in Norway.

 

When can I see the Northern Lights in Norway?

It is definitely possible to see the Northern Lights in Norway. Obviously the further north you get, the better the chance. November to March is peak time to see the lights, and the months of September and October offer possibilities as well.

 

 
 

Looking for more fun in Norway? Here’s what to do in Trondheim and all the tourist sights to see in Oslo.

 
 
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